Winchester railway station, a normally busy hub for commuters travelling to London, was quiet this morning with only a handful of trains arriving.

Many of the city's resident have been forced to either work from home or source alternative transport as more than 2,100 South Western Railway workers have today started the first of three days of strike action - the biggest industrial action by rail workers for a generation.

According to reports in the Guardian and BBC, only around 20 per cent of rail services will be running.

Train services are expected to be impacted on the days without planned strike action as well due to knock-on effects – with about 60 per cent of normal services in operation.

In Winchester, two hourly trains are still departing for the capital. However, notice boards were awash with services which had been either altered or cancelled.

Taxi drivers waiting outside said the strike had a knock-on impact on their trade.

Gorkhin Gul said: “It will be tough to work today, there are very few customers around.”

A second taxi driver, who wished not to be named, said he had completed just one £4 fare since starting work at 7.30am. "The strikes are going to affect us a lot," he said.

"We can't control how busy it is at the best of times but this week especially we will see a huge loss of trade."

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Kevin Reed, 68, from Alresford, was visiting the station to plan ahead for a Green Day concert at West Ham's London Stadium on Friday. He said: "I've worked out that we can get there without any issues, but it looks like we'll have the leave the gig early to get the last train at 11.05pm. It's a bit of a shame because this event has been cancelled for the last two years because of Covid, and now we're finally allowed to go it'll be cut short because of the strikes.

"I don't know the ins and outs of it, and I'm all for people trying to improve their lives, but when you hear the conditions they have at the moment you do lose a little bit of sympathy.

"I'm retired now but I used to work from 7.30 in the morning to 6.30 at night, five days a week, and sometimes the same of Saturday to make up the shortfall."

Train passenger Emily Duncan said the strike had not hampered her journey because she had planned ahead to use one of the services still running to Winchester.

She said: “I’ve been able to plan around it so it hasn’t affected me.”

Jack Pook, from Winchester, described the strikes as “very stressful” as he waited to board a train home at Clapham Junction in south-west London after spending the night in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Mr Pook, a 54-year-old family support officer, said he had travelled up to London for work on Monday morning and was waiting on Platform 9 for his train home in the evening when he collapsed.

“I suddenly very instantly started feeling very unwell. I went completely pale, profuse sweating, people must have thought I was drunk," he said. “It was very humiliating.”

He said the train staff were “lovely with me” and called the paramedics, who treated him for about an hour before taking him to hospital, where he was diagnosed with a “one-off virus”.

Mr Pook was still wearing hospital pyjamas when he returned to the station on Tuesday morning.

Having planned to travel home on Monday, he said he had been “very stressed“ about the strikes when he woke up in hospital.

“I didn’t know if they were still on until this morning – I asked someone at a bus stop at about 7 this morning,” he said.

Mr Pook said he was lucky there was a train to Westminster from Clapham Junction at about 8.30am and that staff had let him use his ticket from Monday.

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He said the experience has been “humiliating, stressful and caused worry, but strangers this morning have been really kind to me”.

He also said he had left his dog, Bardy, in day care, adding: “I just want to get back to him. He’s never been separated from me for this long.”

Steve Brine MP, who’s constituency contains four railway stations, joined his colleagues in demanding the strikes be called off immediately last week following outpouring of anger from commuters who rely on the network. The MP described the strikes as a “unnecessary indulgence on the part of the RMT”.

He said; “These strikes will have a huge impact on my constituents. They will miss work, hospital appointments and precious time with their family and grandchildren, and it will add very unwelcome stress to young people at exam time.”

The MP also spoke up for the businesses, including those based at the station who will lose the best part of a weeks’ takings and added: “If the RMT wants to talk, then call off the strike. Let us take the heat out, because strikes will only up the heat. It is a dereliction of duty for the RMT to say that it does not talk to Tory Governments. It is a disgrace if that is what is being said.

"We have, 'Do not travel next week', messages going out to my constituents. Let us stop the strikes now, not on Sunday at the last minute, which will not avert travel disruption next week. The motion before us today is very easy to support, because it supports my constituents.”

Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Winchester and Chandler's Ford, Danny Chambers, said: “The Government should apologise to Winchester commuters for failing to stop the strikes.

“But the strikes are just the tip of the iceberg. Whether it’s ambulance waiting times, soaring food prices, petrol prices, or holiday flight cancellations. The truth is things are starting to fall apart under this Boris Johnson Government. 

“We need to get some grown ups in government who will fix this mess. Boris Johnson is not fit to govern this great country, that is becoming clearer for more people every day.”